PET questions Calida interest in private case
MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), comprised of the entire Supreme Court, admonished Solicitor General Jose Calida for his inordinate interest in a private electoral protest that does not involve his principal client, the Republic of the Philippines.
“Lamenting a decision he posits as unfavorable to a particular family and lackadaisically invoking People’s Tribune are not hallmarks of a high-ranking government official on whom public trust is reposed,” the tribunal said in a Nov. 17 decision made public only on Thursday.
“The standing asserted by the Solicitor General should be reviewed. ‘People’s Tribune’ is not to be hoisted wantonly in big-ticket cases involving private parties,” the high court said in ruling on the inhibition plea Calida filed against Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Nov. 9.
Calida, along with former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., moved for the inhibition of Leonen, whom they accused of being biased against the Marcos family in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Lack of merit
But the court dismissed Marcos’ motion for lack of merit and questioned Calida’s legal standing to join the private case.
The high court also said it was Calida who should “conduct a careful self-examination” and “exercise his discretion in a way that the people’s faith in the courts of justice is not impaired.”
Apparently taking offense at Calida’s assertion that judges accused of prejudice should examine themselves and inhibit, the tribunal said it was the Solicitor General who should “conduct a careful self-examination.”
It stressed that if Calida were genuinely concerned about the supposed delay in the resolution of the case and its impact on the public, he should have confined his arguments to these instead of imputing “impartiality and incompetence not only against a sitting member of the tribunal but also against the entire body.”
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